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Death benefits

A new state pension system came into effect from 6 April 2016.  This may affect the State Pension that you or your partner will get on death.

Reached your SPA before 6 April 2016

When you die, some of your State Pension entitlements may pass to your widow, widower or surviving civil partner.

Basic State Pension - Your spouse or civil partner may be entitled to some basic state pension based on your National Insurance (NI) contributions but only if they have not already built up a full basic state pension from their own NI contributions record.  When you die, your spouse or civil partner can apply for your National Insurance record to be used instead of their own, so this will only help them if your record is more complete than theirs. If you die while they are under state pension age, they will lose this right if they remarry or enter into a new civil partnership before they reach state pension age. Your spouse or civil partner may be entitled to any extra state pension you are entitled to if you put off claiming it when you reached state pension age.

Additional state pension - You may have contributed towards an additional state pension. This could be the state second pension (S2P), which used to be known as the state earnings-related pension scheme (SERPS) or the graduated state pension. If you die, your spouse or civil partner may be able to inherit some of this additional state pension. To see how much additional State Pension can be inherited, go to www.gov.uk/additional-state-pension/further-information.


Bereavement benefits

Your widowed husband, wife or civil partner may also be able to claim Bereavement Support Payment, which is made up of a lump sum followed by 12 monthly payments.  The amount of benefit you receive is linked to whether you have dependent children and the National Insurance Contribution record of the person who has died.  


Reaching your SPA on or after 6 April 2016

A new State Pension system was introduced on 6 April 2016. The benefits payable on your death will depend on when you or your partner reached or will reach their State Pension age. There will be transitional arrangements, so that in some circumstances, people who have made national insurance contributions or have credits under the current system will still be able to inherit state pension from a late spouse or partner.

  • Members of a couple in which only one of them reaches their State Pension age under the previous system may be able to increase their State Pension using their partner's National Insurance record. They can also inherit some additional State Pension from their deceased spouse or civil partner as under the present system.
  • When both partners reach State Pension age after 6 April 2016, a surviving spouse or civil partner will be able to inherit 50% of any protected payment that exists. 
  • A new state pensioner may still inherit an old system deferral payment from their late spouse or civil partner.  There is no inheritance by a surviving spouse or civil partner of the extra state pension built up from deferral of a new State Pension.


Frequently asked...

Where can I find out more?

If you need more information, please contact us. A pension specialist from our team will be happy to help with whatever pensions-related question you have. Our help is always free.

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